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The ACA is Working for Young Adults

In every community across the country, the Affordable Care Act is working to increase access to affordable, quality health care. This is especially true for young adults. To learn more about Open Enrollment, or to check our your coverage options, visit: Healthcare.govcuidadodesalud.govor call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY 1-855-889-4325).

Transforming the American Healthcare System

Historic Reduction in the Uninsured. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades— with an estimated 20 million uninsured people gaining health coverage. Those gains come primarily from the Health Insurance Marketplace, young adults who can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26, and Medicaid expansions.

Health Care Coverage is now Affordable for Millions of Americans. Of the approximately 11.1million people who purchased coverage through the Marketplace as of March 31, 2016, nearly 9.4 million (85 percent) received a tax credit to help them pay their monthly premium. In 2016, nearly 7 in 10 of Marketplace shoppers using HealthCare.gov could purchase coverage for $75 a month or less after tax credits.  Further, a Commonwealth Fund study found that in 2014, fewer Americans had problems paying medical bills or medical debt, and fewer went without care because they couldn’t afford it. A more recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found the Affordable Care Act has yielded better overall financial health for the newly insured.

Higher Quality Coverage. After years of dropped coverage, flimsy plans and barriers to care, everyone’s coverage has improved because people, including those who get health insurance through their employers, have new protections. No one can be dropped just because they get sick, and millions of people now have coverage for trips to the emergency room, filling out their prescriptions and getting the preventive services they need.

How the ACA is Working for Young Adults

  • 6.1 million uninsured young adults ages 19 to 25 have gained health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.
  • 2.3 million young adults gained coverage from 2010 through the start of Open Enrollment in October 2013 due to the provision that allows people under age 26 to stay on their parents’ plan.
  • An additional 3.8 million young adults gained coverage between October 2013 and early 2016.
  • Up to 30 million 18-34 year olds with a pre-existing condition, can no longer be charged higher premiums or denied coverage altogether under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Between 2010 and the first quarter of 2014, the rate of uninsured individuals between the ages of 19 and 25 fell by 13.2 percentage points, a nearly 40 percent decline.

More Work Ahead

Further Expanding Coverage. Even with the major strides we’ve seen, too many young adults remain uninsured. We must all work together to continue to spread the word about new coverage options. This includes working with the states that have yet to expand Medicaid to get as many people covered as possible.

From Coverage to Care. Now that millions more individuals have health coverage, we are working to educate people about their coverage and to reduce barriers so that they can get the care they need to live longer and healthier lives. Ultimately, one of the key steps in addressing the many health issues facing young adults is helping each individual understand how to take advantage of the full benefits of their health coverage.

How You Can Help

Know the Facts. Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs from November 1, 2016 to January 30, 2017. Health coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017 for those who sign up by December 15, 2016. Those who have already received health coverage through the Marketplace should come back to shop and review their coverage options as new, better, and more affordable plans may be available for them in 2017. To make sure you get the best deal for January 1. 2017 coverage, you need to take action by December 15, 2016. Even outside of Open Enrollment, one can get coverage if they have experienced certain life events such as getting married, graduating or moving.

Talk to Your Friends/Family. Friends and family are some of the most trusted voices when it comes to important financial and health decisions. Talk to them, and encourage them to check out Healthcare.gov. If they’d like more help selecting a plan, let them know about our call center—available in English and Spanish at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY 1-855-889-4325). If they’d like to talk to someone in person, let them know that free in person help is available, and they can find out about getting help in their area by visiting: Localhelp.healthcare.gov. These resources are also available in Spanish at cuidadodesalud.gov, and ayudalocal.cuidadodesalud.gov.

Spread the Word. Help spread the word by following us and sharing our content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, joining the #GetCovered conversation, or sharing your story with us. You never know who you might help by taking even a small step to spread the word.

To Learn More on How the ACA Helps Young Adults


Content created by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
Content last reviewed on July 21, 2016
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